Saturday, January 2, 2010

Surprise, Surprise

As of this month I have now been Vegan for four years. In looking back at the decision to make this change in my life I can say that I'm truly happy that I did. It really has had a positive impact in my life and overall health. Which has me now wondering why are so many reluctant or still strongly tied to the consumption of flesh.

I have been thinking about this a bit recently, especially noticing the amount of recalls that have been posted by the FDA & USDA sites. For the most part these go unnoticed by the mainstream consumer until there is a massive recall that makes the local news.

Food for thought, our health is largely impacted by what is put into our bodies. FDA closely regulates prescription medications, OTC products & cosmetics. The Red Cross has established requirements for who can and can not donate blood. Some of the requirements are as follows:

- Can not be pregnant
- Had a tattoo within the last 12 months
- Needle stick within the last 12 months
- Epilepsy seizures
- Visited an area with Malaria
- History of Hepatitis
- Having been in jail in the past 12 months
- Having syphilis or gonorrhea
- Have any risk factors for HIV

From that standpoint we watch what goes into our bodies. We would not find it acceptable to have blood transfusions or organ donations made if we thought that the original host was diseased. These types of incidents are rare and and few in far between for most in a given lifetime. Yet food that is consumed on a daily basis is given much less attention. Which I would think should be quite the opposite.

In contrast the USDA set regulation and policies of how meat must be inspected in order to suitable for consumption is much more lax than blood donation requirements. Current requirements state that animals must be disease free otherwise there is special handling requirements for dealing with the diseases animal. Keep in mind that does not mean that the animal will not be able to enter the food supply. As far as I can find cattle are only tested for the following:

- BSE - Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or Mad Cow Disease
- Bovine Tuberculosis

Beyond this the cattle do have to appear to in general good health. Yet, most cattle herds are infected with viral Leukemia and Johne's Disease and not tested for this and is not used as a requirement to determine suitability for food supply. Viral Leukemia appears in most bovine fluids such as milk that are consumed by the general population, and this is not eliminated by the pasteurization process. The rate of leukemia has increased 37% in the US since the 1960's. As for the Johne's disease it is the main suspected culprit of causing Chrone's disease and IBD in humans.

Is it a surprise that the general population is in such poor health? Is it surprising that the masses are looking for a national health care solution? I don't think so, yet very few take the time to educate themselves on how to improve health through diet and embracing a vegan lifestyle. This I do find very surprising.

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